Why Should You Buy Used Shoes?
There are a surprising number of used shoes sold on websites such as eBay and Craigslist, but is it smart to buy used shoes? For what it is worth, my suggestion is to not resort to used shoes unless you are experiencing severe financial hardship. There are very limited exceptions to that suggestion.
Growing up, many of my clothes were hand-me-downs from older cousins. However, I do not remember ever wearing shoes previously worn by anyone else. Untold millions of people in countries such as Haiti wear used shoes but, because of poverty, their option is often going barefoot. Being faced with such choices is virtually unknown in the United States.
Unlike most articles of clothing, shoes cannot be altered or cleaned. Also unlike most articles of clothing, the uppers of shoes take on creases and bends depending on the size and shape of the original wearer’s feet and his or her gait. There is also stretching of the uppers depending on the size and shape of the foot. These factors can combine to create a loose fit in which the foot of the second wearer is not stabilized, cause undue friction for the new wearer, or both.
Heel and sole wear also varies with the wearer and, depending on the material, the insoles may permanently conform to the shape of the wearer’s soles. The wear pattern may put stress on a new wearer’s feet and/or legs. Is saving a few dollars by wearing used shoes worth the possibility of injuring your feet? Only you can make that decision.
There is one exception to my suggestion that you not buy used shoes. Many people have shoes they seldom, if ever, wear that they received as gifts or bought for special occasions. Assuming they have no significant creases or wear, such used shoes can be a very good buy.
I have bought thousands of shoes for posting on my website OddShoeFinder.com. Because of the extremely low prices I post, some site users have asked me if the shoes are used. To answer that question, I throw away any shoes with any visible wear because I do not want to be responsible for anyone’s foot pain.
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